My Eulogy to Grandma

Sitting on bed holding up end of small bow tie quilt
Here I am back in February 1993 with the quilt I made.

This afternoon I came across the memorial announcement for my grandmother’s death (which brought tears to my eyes) and the eulogy I wrote for her memorial (which I share with you, for I still believe that God calls us to carry on).

My Eulogy to Grandma

February 1993

I brought this quilt here today because, for me, it symbolizes what I believe God calls us to do when an ancestor, when someone we love, dies. I made this quilt the past two weeks out of scraps from a quilt Grandma and my mother made eight years ago, as they mourned my grandfather’s death. Making this quilt helped me to mourn the loss of a wonderful, loving and generous woman, to have hope for the future, and to carry on Grandma’s work.

As I sat in bed with the flu these past couple of weeks, thinking I’d be too ill to join you in mourning Grandma’s death, I was struck by her endless creativity, by the gifts she bestowed on us, and the traditions she passed down.

Looking at the quilt and afghan Grandma had made filled me with respect for her creative talents and hope for our future. Hope, for in marrying Grandpa and loving him devotedly, and in giving birth to and raising her daughter and son, she laid the groundwork for future generations. We – her children, grandchildren, and those who dearly loved her – have been blessed as the recipients of her many gifts.

Margaret Mary Hebner taught us all a great deal. I remember her teaching me how to sew, knit, crochet, needlepoint and embroider, bake bread, make ice cream and granola from scratch. She taught us how to love devotedly and generously, as well.

I will remember her always as the perfect grandmother – generous, creative, and loving. We were truly blessed to have been created and loved by Mary Hebner. She nourished us well with her many gifts.

Small Steps

Small Steps. Me & My Dad.
Never too early to learn good oral hygiene (I was probably teething)

Progress sometimes comes in small steps. This weekend I walked the dog with my husband, which meant I stepped away from my computer and actually went outside.

Beautiful outside. Weather warm. Sky clear. Saddleback Mountain gorgeous, every nook and cranny visible as if I could reach out and touch it.

Honestly, I find it hard to overcome inertia, to get up and get out. But when I do so, when I go outside, I benefit. My mood improves. My spirit lightens. Both my physical and mental health reap gains.

Sunday I even ran a car-load of stuff to Goodwill, including my father’s old clothes. My father died a year ago next week, and I’ve been holding onto his old clothes since then.

To remember him, I’ve kept his flannel shirts. Wearing his flannel shirts, I feel enveloped in the warmth of his love, like I’m getting a big hug from him.

When we were little, he’d call us over for big bear hugs, but there was nothing rough in his hugs. Just love. Protective love. The big loving protective hugs of a father for his daughters.

My eyes are tearing up now. Good tears. I was loved. I loved my dad. He loved us dearly and deeply.

Martin Short Quote on Death

Martin Short’s wife Nancy died of cancer after almost 30 years of marriage. I love what he said about death in his AARP interview.

I believe that when people die, they zoom into the people that love them. This idea that it just ends, and don’t speak of them — that’s wrong. That’s based on denial that we’re all going to die. So to me, she’s still here. At the same time, her death emboldened me to take risks. With real tragedy, you become a little more daring. It’s the yin to the yang: the positive part of life’s dark side.

Martin Short as told to David Hochman (2019, January 31). Martin Short Says He’s Wiser With Age. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/celebrities/info-2019/martin-short-interview.html

I Will Not Cry Now

pixelated family tree

To avoid feeling overwhelmed and hold back the tears due to loss, stress and worry, I’ve started delving into my ancestry online.

My therapist reframed what I was doing as focusing, rather than avoidance. She thought it was healthy.

Now that my father has passed away and my mother’s health has faltered, I’m really, really sad. I miss them both.

My father is gone. My mother is still with us, but I miss speaking with her, playing word games with her, walking with her, taking her out for lunch.

The pain at times overwhelms me. I don’t want to fall into bipolar depression, hypomania, or mood cycling.

To stave off the pain, I click through the family tree, digging further and further back.

Hate when hit dead ends, especially when it comes to my mother’s beloved Irish grandmother with whom she lived when she attended college.